Choosing to rent a wheelchair, scooter, or another mobility device is a solid option for trying out a new model, adjusting to using the device and learning what your daily needs are. It can also be beneficial for mobility device users who are looking to leave their equipment at home while traveling. Renting should be done with the proper intentions, and spending some time researching and preparing will help you find the right device early on. The following guide walks you through what to consider when renting a wheelchair or scooter to ensure the device you choose suits your needs and fits your budget and lifestyle.
Things to Consider:
Choosing a Wheelchair, Scooter, or Mobility Device
Consider your mobility device needs
Before getting into the details of how to rent a wheelchair or scooter, where to rent, and what the process is, you should consider what your needs are. It can be easy to get overwhelmed with technical details and options available on the market, especially if you aren’t sure what you need from your mobility device. Start by thinking about how the mobility device will help in your life. You will organically see what you need and which models can support those needs.
To start, answer the following questions:
- Why do you need a mobility device?
- What do you need the mobility device to do?
- How would using a mobility device benefit your daily life?
If you are having trouble answering these questions, a great resource is your doctor or medical team. A doctor can help recommend a device that will increase your mobility and positively impact your life. Understanding your needs and why the device is required will help you choose the right device to rent.
Have a basic understanding of your wheelchair, scooter, or mobility device
Now that you know what you need from your mobility device, the second foundational step is to have a general understanding of how your mobility device works. Having a good knowledge of what the devices look like, how they can be customized, and what options may best suit your needs will make it easier to find what you’re looking for when you’re ready to rent.
No matter which device you’re looking to rent, you should understand the basic components. This will help you choose specifics when you’re browsing rental options online.
Mobility devices have many custom options including:
- Captain's style chair
- Cushioned seat
- Swivel seat
- Power component
- Replaceable battery
- Cup holders
The best way to gain a basic understanding of your device and what is offered is to visit a retailer or supplier website, like Scootaround.com. The Scootaround online shop offers a variety of wheelchairs, powerchairs, scooters, walkers, and rollators. Seeing the different devices all in one place will help you get a feel for what your device could have and what the basic components are.
Consider your ideal wheelchair, scooter, or mobility devices
The last step in the mobility device selection process is considering the right device for you. You know what you need out of your device and how devices can be customized, so now you can be creative and dream up your ideal mobility device.
For example, if you were thinking about your ideal wheelchair or scooter, you may consider the following:
- Swivel or adjustable
- Type of grip
- Amount of strength need
- Easy to use indoors and out
- Ability to handle tight turns (mobility scooter or wheelchair turning radius)
- Ability to handle different terrain
- Indoor (tile and carpet)
- Outdoor (gravel, grass, and pavement)
- Charge style
- Battery life
- Duration of use between charges
- Storage compartments
- Front or rear basket
- Ability to add storage options
- Room for a backpack or purse
- Travel ability
- Can it fold and store in a trunk?
- Front or rear basket
Now you’re ready to consider renting a mobility device. You have your needs outlined, a basic understanding of how the device works, and what your ideal components and setup would be. All this preparation will make renting a mobility device easier because you’ll be ready to make a decision when you call or browse the website, rather than needing to get an education or having to make a decision on the spot.
Renting vs. buying a wheelchair, scooter or mobility device
There are pros and cons to both renting and buying a mobility device. One isn’t better or worse than the other; it just depends on what you’re using the device for and for how long. If you will only be using the mobility device temporarily, it may be better to rent, whereas if the mobility device will be a permanent fixture in your life, you may want to buy.
Understanding your wants and needs helps when determining if you should rent or buy. There may be individual components you’re looking for that aren’t currently available in any make or model, and renting in the short-term may be useful if you’d like to upgrade later. If you see a device that has everything you want and need, it may be better to buy the device upfront, as some new models change over time and may not offer exactly what you want later.
It’s also possible you may end up both renting and buying. Many people who purchase a scooter or wheelchair choose to rent equipment while travelling to avoid transporting their mobility device on the plane.
Pros of renting a wheelchair, scooter or mobility device
- You get to try the device out
- You can upgrade when your rental agreement expires
- You can use 50% of your rental cost towards the purchase of a new piece of equipment with Scootaround
- Won’t have to store or keep the device long term
Cons of renting a wheelchair, scooter or mobility device
- You have to return the device at the end of your contract
- You have to maintain the device and return it in good condition
- You will have a contract
Pros of buying a wheelchair, scooter or mobility device
- You own your device
- You have more equipment brands and styles to choose from
- You have more options to customize the device to your specific needs
Cons of buying a wheelchair, scooter or mobility device
- You have to maintain your device
- Will have to buy a new device or rent for an upgraded model
- Will have to transport and store your device long term
- You may need to upgrade or change your device before it’s paid off
Short-term vs. long-term wheelchair and mobility scooter rentals
There are two types of rentals: short-term and long-term. The specifics of the timeline depends on who you are renting from and how long you need your rental for. The four main reasons why you’d consider short-term and long-term are the cost, contract, coverage, and availability.
The cost of the rental can be broken down into three components: the base rental cost of the device, optional insurances, and any applicable security deposit. Typically, short-term rentals are cheaper than long-term rentals because you have the device in your possession for less time. This means that the wear on the device and maintenance will be less the shorter the time period.
The contract covers how long you have the device in your possession and what you’re responsible for while you have the device. Contracts will also discuss wheelchair or mobility scooter maintenance as well as damages and early termination fees. It’s important to understand the contract entirely, as you will want to choose a rental term that suits your needs and has clear expectations.
The contract will outline what you are covered for, which may include maintenance, wear and tear, and potential damage or insurance. It should also make it clear which things you are responsible for. Mobility devices are used daily and will experience some wear, but if it is damaged, breaks, or doesn’t suit your needs, you should be aware of how the contract handles each scenario.
Which devices are available in which locations? And for how long? Certain mobility devices may only be available for short-term or long-term rentals, where other models and styles may be offered for both time periods. The rental company may offer certain models with restrictions due to maintenance, upkeep, and how the device fares over time.
Before you rent a wheelchair, scooter or mobility device
When it comes to renting a mobility device, there are a few things you should do before signing the contract and taking the device home:
It’s important to talk with a customer representative to understand all the available options, or thoroughly scan the website’s listings. This will help you ensure you are getting the device that is as close to your ideal device as possible.
If you are speaking to a representative over the phone or renting in person, you should ask questions and have the rental process explained to you. This will help fill in any blanks and give you a good idea if their policy works with your needs. Discuss their leasing or rental policy, contract details, and any exchange or return policy.
Most rental scooters and wheelchairs are easy to use and do not require a test drive beforehand. When renting a mobility device, you will typically receive a user guide or manual along with the equipment. A representative from the rental company can also walk you through basic operations in person or over the phone.
If you are thinking of purchasing a device, it may be a good idea to test out the device with a test drive. This will help you see that the device fits your needs and will work in your daily life. Have someone walk you through the process from navigation, power details, charging, and transferring to and from the device. You will want to have a good idea of how to operate a mobility scooter or wheelchair before taking it home. Take this as an opportunity to examine the device for damage. You want to purchase a device that will be reliable and beneficial, and this step will save you repairs on your mobility device later on.
Chat with a representative
If you are renting online, it can sometimes be a good idea to chat with a customer service representative to fully understand the rental process, including delivery, maintenance, and return policies. This information will also be available on the rental company’s website and will be sent to you in a confirmation email after you book the rental.
Finding a wheelchair, scooter or mobility device rental while traveling
If you’re on the fence about renting a mobility device, you may have an opportunity while you’re traveling to get a taste of the experience. Many hotels, casinos, theme parks, convention centers, and other facilities offer mobility device rentals for daily use. Scootaround offers a variety of mobility device rentals throughout North America in many popular tourist locations. It may be beneficial to rent a mobility device for the duration of your stay from Scootaround rather than borrowing a device every time you get to a new destination. Renting from an outside party like Scootaround will guarantee you have the device you need at every stop throughout your trip.
Renting a device while on vacation can help you save on transportation costs and will give you the peace of mind that your personal mobility device won’t get damaged while flying or traveling. Renting a scooter, wheelchair, or other devices can also give you the opportunity to test drive an upgrade or try out a different mobility device as your needs change.
You can rent a wheelchair, scooter, or other mobility devices in most locations across North America. Scootaround has a variety of rental locations and many options available, including wheelchairs, powerchairs, scooters, walkers, rollators, oxygen, and other medical equipment. Their website is educational and informative, providing a friendly space to explore mobility devices or chat with a representative to explain the process. With retail locations in many popular accessible travel destinations, Scootaround offers renting in person as well as online. To book a rental for your next trip or to rent for your needs, visit Scootaround.com today.
Cory Lee is a wheelchair user, travel addict, and accessible travel writer. On his blog, Curb Free with Cory Lee, he hopes to inspire others to roll out of their comfort zones and see all the beauty our world has to offer.